|THE DIRTY HEADS
“It starts with the title. No matter where you are or what’s going on, when you hear this record, we want to transport you to this place, this ‘Cabin by the Sea.’”, says Heads front man Jared “Dirty J” Watson of the new album Cabin by the Sea.
For the SoCal rock/reggae/hip-hop band, Cabin represents more than just good vibes. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and endless touring, and a chance to refine and improve on their breakthrough, 2008’s Any Port in the Storm. That’s not an easy act to follow – their debut album featured one of the decade’s biggest rock singles, “Lay Me Down” (which spent eleven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart, a record for an independent release and more than any single that year by anyone, including The Black Keys, Kings of Leon and 30 Seconds to Mars) and a shout-out in Rolling Stone as one of year’s best new bands.
But the Heads knew better things lay ahead. “Last time was our first time in the studio, working with a producer,” says Watson. “This time out, we nailed it. We trimmed the fat and got the sound we were always going for.”
SHINY TOY GUNS
The road that led Shiny Toy Guns into the abyss — and now, triumphantly, back from it — was fraught with peril, full of steep grades, twists, potholes, detours and dead ends. That the Los Angeles-based quartet has emerged firing on all cylinders is testimony not only to its members’ artistic vision but to their personal renaissance.
“III,” the new album that reunites the original four members whose pioneering synth-pop and DIY ethic made Shiny Toy Guns worldwide sensations so many miles ago, is symbolic of that journey. On “III,” their first album in almost four years, the band refines its signature electronic sound with a collection of exuberant, intensely personal songs about life, love, loss and redemption.
To create them, though, the foursome — Carah Faye (vocals), Chad Petree (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Dawson (synth, bass) and Mikey Martin (drums) — was forced to heal the fissures that began showing even as they were sharing their Grammy-nominated debut, “We Are Pilots” (2006), to hungry audiences.